by Ciara Maguire
POLICE have said they are “unsure” if anti-GAA graffiti dubbed on a bridge between Donemana and Claudy is linked to an attack on a nearby Orange Hall.
‘F**k the GAA’ was painted on a bridge on the Longland Road sometime over the weekend. Graffiti was also spray painted on the side of the hall on Main Street, Claudy. It is believed this occurred sometime between 10pm on Friday, March 8 and 6am on Saturday, March 9.
Police say the are treating the attack on the hall as a hate crime and that enquiries are continuing. They have appealed for witnesses to come forward by calling police on 101 and quoting number 431 of 09/03/19.
Commenting on the bridge graffiti, a PSNI spokesperson said: “Following a report yesterday (Saturday) of graffiti having been placed on an Orange Hall in Claudy, we were made aware of damage which has been caused to the bridge on Longland Road.
“We are unsure if the two incidents are linked and would appeal to anyone who noticed any suspicious activity in the Longland Road area over the last few days to get in touch on the non-emergency number 101, quoting the reference number 568 of 10/03/2019.
“Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100 per cent anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime”.
Sinn Féin’s Cathal Ó hOisín has condemned both acts. He said: “There is no evidence that we are aware of that the two incidents are connected, however, both should be utterly condemned.
“Any attack on another's cultural identity is to be condemned without fear or favour. I find this particularly reprehensible as it has occurred less than a week after we had a full house at the local GAA club for a lecture on the subject of ‘Protestants and the Irish Language’ at which I was in attendance.
“What is clear from the reactions of local people is that there is no desire to ramp up tensions, over what is essentially a non subject. I would hope that this is the last we will see of this type of behaviour.”